The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is an emergency food assistance agency that serves an average of 119,000 people each month. Last year, they distributed more than 17 million meals to hungry families across the Blue Ridge. Working with partner agencies to distribute food throughout the counties they serve, the Food Bank is dependent on them to collect foods that will sustain those in need in our area.
Partners at the Church of Our Saviour’s (COOS) west of Charlottesvillework very hard to collect nutritious and delicious foods to distribute. They have been requested that folks who have gardens bring their excess produce over to the church and donate it, as fresh vegetables are VERY expensive to purchase and contain many of the nutrients needed for a healthy body.
Linda Broadbent, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate III REALTOR and enthusiastic volunteer for the Church of Our Saviour Food Bank project stated “The other volunteers and I serve about 80-110 households per month from our Food Closet. We are here for those in need 3 days a week.” “We have a new initiative at COOS this year,” continued Broadbent, “to distribute fresh vegetables for our visitors. We are asking our church members and people from the community who have extra items from their garden to donate to our Food Closet for distribution in our bags.” “Fresh foods and items like peanut butter and cereal are so important to these folks,” Broadbent said. “They need the protein and vitamins and, unfortunately, the foods that are best for our health are normally more expensive.”
The food bank is a bulk supplier to local churches or organizations, such as the Salvation Army, that operate food pantries and soup kitchens. The food bank also helps schools distribute snacks to kids and individuals, who can go directly to the food bank one time. There they’ll receive about 62 pounds of food for a family of four, help applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called food stamps, and a list of nearby pantries and kitchens.
Through those outlets from Charlottesville to Lexington and Winchester, the food bank expects to distribute 18 million pounds of food this fiscal year. That’s nearly double the amount of two years ago and translates into 1.8 million meals in the Charlottesville area alone.
“When it comes to clients,” adds the food bank’s Director of Communications Ruth Jones, across its entire region, “we’ve seen the clients go from about 65,000 to 70,000 people served each month, to 83,000 to 90,000 people each month. Over the next few months, we expect to serve close to 100,000 people in one month’s time.”
- Food bank struggles to meet basic human need (yumasun.com)
- Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins donates $50,000 to northeast regional food banks (troyrecord.com)
- Food Bank Distributes Fresh Produce in Ashland (wsaz.com)